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Instructor Spotlight: Jenna Hansen

Jenna HansenJenna Hansen
Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer

IT Qualifications
Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, Barrels, ZEN•GA®, CORE, Total Barre®

Additional Training:
BFA Dance/Masters Education, University of Utah, National Association of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, Athletics and Fitness Association of America Certified, 500 hours yoga teacher training, AntiGravity Fitness Certified Instructor, Les Mills Group Exercise Instructor

Founder, Awaken Studios

Jenna discovered Pilates when she was studying dance. What she didn't know is that it would change the course of her professional life.


This is her story.

Jenna discovered Pilates while studying dance at the University of Utah. At the time, she was also a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and she immediately noticed the difference Pilates made to her dance practice. “I was more efficient and more powerful,” she says. She practiced Pilates daily, and was excited when a STOTT PILATES® studio opened near her home, making taking classes even more convenient. “It was so kind of the universe,” she says.

After graduating with her Masters in Education, Jenna moved to New Zealand to teach dance and health. A few years later, she and her husband were considering starting a family. Logistically, it made sense for Jenna to transition to teaching Pilates full-time. The flexible schedule and substantial income made it an ideal life choice. They moved back to Utah, and Jenna made the switch to a full-time Pilates career, taking a position managing a gym and mind-body center. She became a Merrithew Instructor Trainer specializing in STOTT PILATES®, then added ZEN•GA®, Total Barre® and CORE Athletic Conditioning & Performance Training to her tool belt.

Jenna Hansen of Awaken Studios

“The best part of Merrithew is their education,” Jenna says. “I knew the content I would learn would not only help me have a bigger impact on my clients and students, but it would keep me passionate about what I do. Total Barre is a great workout that takes Pilates and stands it upright, adding music, sweat and laughter. ZEN•GA is cutting-edge, with key information about the fascial system—I apply it when I am teaching Pilates, weight-lifting or yoga. I am a certified personal trainer and have earned many group fitness certifications, but none of them even touches on the knowledge in the CORE program.”

Jenna loved working with clients and seeing the changes mind-body fitness made in their lives. “I saw such a big difference in their bodies,” she says. “They just got so many benefits.”

Jenna had it made. She was able to support a family of four teaching Pilates while her husband stayed home with the kids. But when the gym she worked for took on new management, she unexpectedly lost her job. “It was one of those moments,” she says. “I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do.’”

She decided to open her own studio.

Awaken Studios in Murray, Utah

Now, Jenna and her husband run the 8,000 square foot Awaken Studios with 12 V2 Max Plus Reformers, a barre studio, yoga studio and daycare included, with 55 employees and 250 members. “We do lots of community outreach,” she says. “Yearly international retreats.”

Merrithew’s broad range of mind-body modalities helps her challenge her clients in new and innovative ways, and has helped grow her business she says. “Merrithew keeps it fresh. CORE, Total Barre and ZEN•GA have truly added to my success and the success of my clients. Being able to offer so many disciplines at the studio has made the studio successful, helped us reach a broader client base and has had a HUGE financial payoff.”

Jenna teaching a Pilates Reformer client

Jenna still travels to present for Merrithew, in addition to teaching and running the studio. “It’s hard to believe that this little decision to do Pilates totally changed my life around,” she says. “I can’t rave enough about what a great career choice it is for anybody.”

“It really has been amazing.”